GREATER NYC AREA: One month into 2012, and so many artists are back in the studio, hunkered down to work on some of this year’s most anticipated releases. Tracking this activity on the regular, we can confidently note that an even wider range of artists than usual – from Madonna to John Zorn, Machine Gun Kelly to Burt and Ernie, Cee-Lo Green to T. Bone Burnett – seem to be recording, mixing and mastering in NYC-area studios of late.
Jon Bon Jovi also hit Germano for writing and recording sessions with co-producer John Shanks and Dan Chase engineering. And singer/songwriter Marc Cohn – with producer/songwriter and Dobro master Jerry Douglas – recorded here in sessions produced by Russ Titelman and engineered by Kevin Porter.
Also at Germano…K’naan recorded with Nas and Chuck Harmony producing – Dave Rowland and Ryan West engineered the sessions; The-Dream recorded new material with Brian “B-Luv” Thomas engineering; Keri Hilson was working with The Phat Boiz and Ne-Yo producing, Kenta Yonesaka engineering; and songwriter/producer Sandy Vee was mixing for various projects.
Nearby at The Lodge, mastering engineers Emily Lazar, Joe LaPorta, Sarah Register and Heba Kadry have gotten off to a busy start in 2012. In recent sessions, The Lodge mastered…Garbage’s upcoming full-length Not Your Kind Of People – mixed by Butch Vig and Billy Bush; The Raveonettes’ new EP; Narada Michael Walden‘s new album “Thunder” – engineered and mixed by David Frazer and Jim Reitzel; two new singles by the Cold War Kids – mixed by Richard Swift – and Bear in Heaven’s anticipated new album I Love You, It’s Cool – produced and mixed by David Wrench.
The Lodge also handled remastering Indochine‘s “Paradize” album (Sony Music France) for a 10th Anniversary re-release, and mastering St. Lucia’s debut EP for Neon Gold; Light Asylum’s new album for Mexican Summer, and Nymph’s new record mixed by David Tolomei for The Social Registry.
Down in the Lower East Side at EastSide Sound, recent sessions engineered by Marc Urselli include: vocals and drum tracking for Martha Wainwright’s new Yuka Honda-produced album; two new John Zorn albums, one a trio featuring Bill Frisell; Sean Lennon recording an album with Kemp & Eden; David Krakauer recording and mixing his new album for Tzadik Records, as well as a recording for a movie soundtrack; and Japanese french horn player Yuko Yamamura with Taiko player Ryota Kataoka for a duo record of Japanese traditional music.
The new Jets Overhead record was mixed over at Flux Studios in the East Village. Producer/mixer Emery Dobyns mixed the album out of Flux’s freshly-appointed Revolution Room. Also at Flux, producer/mixer Fab Dupont recently finished mixing a new album from jazz saxophonist Bob Reynolds – produced by Mat Pierson, and featuring John Mayer.
Singer/songwriter Cris Cab and producers 88 Keys, Wyclef and Sedeck Jean have been working up at StadiumRed in Harlem, making Cab’s debut album for Mercury Records, and the just-released Echo Boom mixtape, presented by Billionaire Boys Club. StadiumRed engineer Joseph Pedulla worked alongside Cab and co. on these two projects – writing and recording in StadiumRed’s A, B and C4 rooms, with assistant engineers Keith Parry, Mike Kuzoian and Phil Consorti. In-house mastering engineer Ricardo Gutierrez also mastered the first single off Echo Boom, “Put In Work”.
Click to watch some studio footage from these sessions…
StadiumRed also hosted Cee Lo Green while he was in town preparing for his Super Bowl performance. The session included vocal tracking and mixing for his upcoming single. Graham Marsh engineered these sessions, with assistance from Keith Parry.
Meanwhile in Midtown, Sesame Street was invading Sear Sound! As part of a video shoot for Pool Worldwide from The Netherlands, produced by Tim Carter, Bert & Ernie got acquainted with Studio C and its custom Avalon/Sear console as well as Sear’s chief engineer Chris Allen. Jazz saxophonist Ravi Coltrane also paid a visit to Studio C, tracking and mixing his new album with Allen engineering, and Joe Lovano producing, and contributing tenor sax and his specially designed double sax.
Lovano also tracked and mixed his own album in Studio A for Blue Note Records, with James Farber engineering, and Ted Tuthill and Owen Mullholland assisting. In other recent Sear Sessions: Imani Wind Ensemble recorded with Silas Brown engineering, and bassoonist Monica Ellis producing; NYC-based producer Andrew Wyatt (of Swedish indie-pop band Miike Snow) has been working on Xander Duell’s new album; and Philip Glass tracked the score for a new documentary, BESA, with Christian Rutledge producing, Dan Bora engineering, and Trevor Gureckis conducting.
Sesame Street also took over KMA Music in the Brill Building, recording “Elmo’s Elf-a bet Challenge” in Studio A, with engineer by Serge Nudel. R&B singer Chrisette Michelle recorded “Get thru the Night” and “Kiss Kiss” at KMA with Serge Nudel engineering. Nudel also engineered tracking sessions with Amanda Cole for the track “More Than I Can Handle”.
In other recent KMA sessions… Yasiin Bey(Mos Def) has been tracking with Colin Norman engineering; Producer/engineer Emily Wright mixed an upcoming Owl City release; Roc Nation’s J. Cole tracked a new album with Mez Davis engineering; Mike Posner also did some tracking with engineer Mez Davis; Carole King cut vocals for her memoirs with Colin Norman engineering; and hit songwriter Claude Kelly and producer Chuck Harmony have working on new material with Ben Chang engineering.
In the midst of planning a large-scale renovation, Daddy’s House Recording Studios in Midtown has been busy tracking and mixing on records for Machine Gun Kelly – “Wild Boy”, mixed by Steve “Rockstar” Dickey; French Montana – “Shot Caller”, mixed by Matt Testa; and Red Café – “Let it Go” among other tracks, recorded and mixed by Steve “Rockstar” Dickey.
In addition Daddy’s House has reportedly hosted quite a bit of independent label work, and choir recording sessions. Once renovated, Daddy’s House will be re-launched as a commercial studio, but in the meantime this facility – with its SSL G-equipped and Neve VR 60-equipped studios, and writing room, is officially already open to the public.
Big film and television projects were underway at Avatar Studios – including songs recorded for the soundtrack of The Hunger Games for Lionsgate. Produced by T. Bone Burnett, and engineered by David Sinko – assisted by Bob Mallory – music for the film was tracked to tape in Studio A. Burnett has also been recording music for a new Coen Brothers film Inside Llewyn Davis at Avatar – co-produced by Burnett and the Coen’s, and engineered by Jason Wormer, with Mallory assisting.
And music for NBC’s new show Smash was recorded with producer Mark Shaiman and engineer Todd Whitelock, assisted by Charlie Kramsky.
And, in time for Super Bowl XLVI (as we reported yesterday), NYC-based composer Joel Beckerman brought his new theme for NBC’s NFL Show in to record with an orchestra in Avatar’s Studio A, with engineer Dennis Wall.
In pure music sessions at Avatar…Herbie Hancock recorded a piano duet with Lang Lang in with producer David Lai and engineer Kirk Yano, assisted by Tim Marchiafava. Esperanza Spalding also recorded with Hancock for the same project. Placido Domingo recorded duets with Bobby McFerrin and producer / engineer Rafa Sardina, as well as with Harry Connick, Jr. And Broadway cast albums for Bonnie & Clyde (producer David Lai, engineer Isaiah Abolin) and Once (producer Steven Epstein, engineer Richard King) were also recently recorded at Avatar.
Some of those singles mixed at Daddy’s House were mastered nearby at Masterdisk. Tony Dawsey (assisted by Tim Boyce) mastered Red Café’s “Let It Go” f. P Diddy, French Montana, Machine Gun Kelly’s “Wild Boy”, and French Montana “Shot Caller” f. P Diddy, Rick Ross – all for Bad Boy – as well as the Steve Sola-mixed single by DJ Absolut “Untouchable” f. Ace Hood, French Montana, Pusha T, Nathaniel, on Addicted For Life.
Meanwhile, Vlado Meller was mastering songs for the pilot episode of NBC’s Smash produced by Marc Shaiman and Scott Riesett, and mixed by Lawrence Manchester at Avatar. Meller will reportedly continue mastering songs for upcoming episodes, which will get released on iTunes. Meller also recently mastered Say Anything’s upcoming album, Anarchy, My Dear, produced by Brooklyn-based Tim O’Heir.
And Scott Hull mastered So Brown’s Bryce Goggin-produced album (from tape). Masterdisk also recently installed several Antelope Audio Isochrone Trinity Master Clock and 10M Rubidium Atomic Clock units in its mastering suites – reportedly “to maintain stereo imaging and the overall sonic integrity of projects passing through its studios. Additionally, Masterdisk is installing multiple Antelope Audio Zodiac D/A converters at listening stations throughout the facility for quality control purposes.
BROOKLYN, QUEENS & BEYOND
Let’s get started out at a quintessentially awesome Brooklyn spot – The Motherbrain, in Gowanus, where owner/producer/engineer Brian Bender’s tracked and/or mixed a few noteworthy records in the last couple months. First up in our report is… Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds’ latest, Pound Of Dirt. Bender produced, recorded and mixed this album for NYC’s Modern Vintage Recordings, with assistance from Jon Anderson. Bender also recently finished mixing Langhorne Slim’s upcoming album The Way We Move, which was recorded up at Old Soul Studios in the Catskills by Kenny Siegal.
And particularly notable is the latest by José James – No Beginning, No End. Produced by José James, Brian Bender and legendary bassist Pino Palladino, the album began with tracks recorded at The Magic Shop with Russ Elevado, and in London by songwriter/producer Fink, and continued with tracking at The Motherbrain, where Bender will also mix the record.
“We ended up doing the majority of the basics for the record here and Jose called in an amazing band: Grant Windsor, Richard Spaven, Pino Palladino, Emily King, Solomon Dorsey, Nate Smith, Kris Bowers and Nir Felder,” Bender described. “Pino was in town for D’Angelo rehearsals so he was splitting his days between this session and rehearsals uptown.
“The sessions were effortless. We were nearly two full days ahead of schedule the whole time. Also very exciting, this is the first record that I have been able to use the WSW to track with! Overheads and the suitcase Rhodes went through it. (Best rhodes sound ever!)”
Nearby at Bryce Goggin’s Trout Recording, David Sylvian and Joan As Policewoman’s Joan Wasser began work on a new record. Fred Cash and Parker Kindred were laying down the rhythms, with Bryce Goggin producing and Adam Sachs engineering. And Ches Smith & These Arches (Tim Berne, Tony Malaby, Andrea Parkins and Mary Halvorson) also began cutting a new album at Trout, with Shahzad Ismaily producing and Goggin engineering.
Another cool NYC percussion-based ensemble Loop 2.4.3. – founded by Clogs’ percussionist Thomas Kozumplik (The National, The Books) – has been tracking a new project at GödelString in Park Slope with engineer Joel Hamburger.
According to Hamburger, the Loop 2.4.3. album, called American Dreamland, came together via somewhat experimental sessions in the studio. “It was a bit of an unusual hybrid process for this type of avant-classical music. It allowed me to work with a mixture of in-the-box and outboard gear to sculpt the sound.”
Hamburger, who recorded and mixed the album, also noted: “What was extra exciting was the extremely wide variety of musicians/styles who came together to make an organic whole. This album expanded on territory the duo was exploring through their previous album, which I also mixed.”
The album will feature vocals by Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond, and Scott Bearden, Jon Catler, of La Monte Young and Forever Bad Blues Band on electric guitar, and Todd Reynolds, of Bang on a Can All Stars and Ethel, on violin.
Over in DUMBO, Joe Lambert mastered the new Ben Allen-produced Reptar album, Body Faucet for Vagrant Records, due out this Spring. Lambert also mastered Reptar’s EP “Oblangle Fizz Y’all” last year. Frenchkiss artist Young Man also mastered his upcoming album, Volume One, at Joe Lambert Mastering.
Other recent sessions at the Rare Book Room include…Matthew Dear’s new EP Headcage and forthcoming LP for Ghostly International which Verhes is mixing; Bowerbirds’ next LP for Dead Oceans The Clearing, mixed by Vernhes (first single out via Pitchfork); Exitmusic’s upcoming LP, This Is Not A Dream for Secretly Canadian on which Vernhes mixed and lent additional production; and Daniel Rossen of Grizzly Bear’s solo EP Silent Hour/Golden Mile for Warp (first single “Saint Nothing” via Stereogum).
In Williamsburg…indie-pop songstress Ingrid Michaelson recorded a cover of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know” at Grand Street Recording, with bandmate Chris Kuffner producing and mixing, and Bobby Mosier engineering the recording session. Kuffner also produced sessions at Grand Street with singer/songwriter Allison Weiss – recording for her new album with drummer Zach Jones.
In other Grand Street sessions news…Pop singer Charlene Kaye was finishing up her upcoming record, Animal Love, with producer Tomek Miernowski – including tracking a string quartet featuring Dave Eggar on cello, Whitney LaGrange on viola, and Coco Taguchi and Jonathan Dinklage on violin, with arrangements by Andrew Sherman. And indie-folk band The Hollows recorded basics for their upcoming EP, with Miernowski engineering and Grahm Galatro producing.
Blocks away, Raekwon was at The Brewery putting final touches on some tracks for his mixtape Unexpected Victory, with engineer Andrew Krivonos. The Brewery hosted tracking and mixing sessions for this release in 2011 – Raekwon even named a song after the studio.
And hip-hop artist Rilgood made his debut JFK at The Brewery, with producers Woodro Skillson and RC Bankwell, with Krivonos engineering. The 11-track album, which Krivonos notes “is one of the most exciting hip-hop projects I’ve worked on in a while merging dance and pop elements,” is due out later in February.
At the newly opened Greenpoint music complex, The End, Brooklyn-based trio Monogold has been recording a new album with Chris Boosahda. In other recent sessions at The End, Television Personalities tracked a new song, with James Richardson of MGMT, and Ron Johnson from the Warren Haynes Band was also at The End working on new projects.
Cohen has also been working with Talib Kweli, and recently started using a new mic on the Blacksmith recording artist, for his soon to be released LP, Prisoner of Conscience, on EMI. Two new songs have also been tracked with Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) on the new Blackstar collaboration. Yasiin reportedly brings his own Shure Super 55.
And Joe Moose Demby recorded the new Creative Arson project with Angie Pontani at Rough Magic. The Valentine’s Day released podcast will feature filmaker Suki Hawley, fashion designer Garo Sparo and comedian Murray Hill
Singer/songwriter DM Stith has been working on a new album at The Buddy Project in Astoria, with the new music ensemble Ymusic accompanying, and Kieran Kelly producing/engineering. Kelly has also been working with singer/songwriter Shawn Walsh on an upcoming release.
Houston-born alt-rock band American Fangs migrated out east to Long Island where they’re recording a full-length album with producers Mike Watts and Steve Haigler at Vudu Studios. Located out in Port Jefferson, Vudu has two seriously equipped studios and a nice big live room, and is home base to Watts (As Tall As Lions, The Dear Hunter, Saliva) and Haigler (The Pixies’ Doolittle, Trompe Le Monde, etc., Brand New).
And not as far out east, there’s Cove City Sound Studios, where Dream Theater recorded their Grammy-nominated album A Dramatic Turn of Events. The album was produced by John Petrucci and engineered by Paul Northfield (assisted by Joe Maniscalero) for Roadrunner Records. Writing, recording, and rough mixing went down at Cove City.
And we know there’s so much more going on out there! If you’d like to be featured in “Session Buzz,” please submit your studio news to firstname.lastname@example.org.